Vatican Says No to Communion for Divorced and Remarrieds

Rumors aside, it appears that Pope Francis is not going to overturn the 2,000-year-old Church teaching on the sanctity of Holy Matrimony.

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller published an article in the Vatican newspaper, putting that story to rest.

Archbishop Muller writes that marriage is indissoluble as is testified in both Scripture and Tradition.

From National Catholic Register:

That Pope Francis is not going to change the discipline that denies Communion to divorced-remarried people is established by the long article Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, drafted for the Vatican daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

In the article, published on Oct. 22, Archbishop Müller reiterates that a Christian marriage is indissoluble and that this is not simply a pastoral question, but a doctrinal issue that involves the Church’s theological understanding of the sacrament of marriage.

There are also other key passages. Archbishop Müller stated that the Orthodox practice of allowing second or third marriages under certain circumstances “cannot be reconciled with God’s will.” He rejected that the individual conscience can be the final arbiter on whether a divorced and civily remarried Catholic can receive Communion. And responding to the argument that Christian mercy mandates allowing such Catholics reception of Communion, he asserted that “an objectively false appeal to mercy also runs the risk of trivializing the image of God by implying that God cannot do other than forgive.”

The article seems a clear corrective to those who recently praised the Church for, they said, finally being open to bringing Communion to divorced-remarried under Pope Francis’ pontificate. And it also serves as a correction to numerous newspaper headlines that have misrepresented the theme of the next Extraordinary Synod of Bishops — “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization” — as meaning the 2014 synod will open the door to a new Church discipline on the matter.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/communion-to-divorced-remarried-catholics-the-cdf-says-no?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2013-10-25%2020:59:01#ixzz2isPprnKm

  • pagansister

    Is it indissoluble in the case of a needed divorce due to an abusive marriage? Is this considered a case where one can get a civil divorce to get out of the harmful relationship and then have to apply for an annulment? It sounds like in that case the divorced woman would have to wait for the annulment before she could receive communion? Would she be allowed to be remarried in the Church or not? Is she forever denied communion? Interesting that the fact that the Orthodox and the Church’s disagreement on this subject was brought up. Personally, I tend to agree with the Orthodox on this. They seem to want to continue to keep and include the faithful even if a divorce has occurred.

    • FW Ken

      Give it a rest. You’re not Catholic, it’s none of your business.

      But no, divorce does not exclude one from Communion.

      • Pofarmer

        Of course not. Someone who isn’t Catholic should in no way be interested in subjects that affect a great many of us.

        • Illinidiva

          Being able to marry within the Church and receive sacraments is a purely Catholic issue. This doesn’t affect civil divorce.

        • FW Ken

          Catholic doctrine affects no one but Catholics. Divorce law , which is largely a moot point now, was passed by protestants at a point when society knew that stable marriages make a stable society.

          Come to think of it, it’s divorce that affects all of us. But I wait with bated breath your explanation of how Catholic doctrine affects you.

          • Pofarmer

            And Catholics also try to project their values and doctrine into the public square.

            • FW Ken

              Which would be our right, just as it’s the right of atheists to have their say. We pay taxes, too. Frankly, your comment smells of bigotry and hate and a desire to silence those who disagree with you.

              • Pofarmer

                And your comments drip with arrogance and disdain, FWIW. I don’t desire to silence anybody. But, some of us are married to Catholics. Some of us have witnessed what it’s like for people who were divorced before they decided to marry a Catholic and then go through the ringer of the Church, lying to get an annulment. So, to say that Catholic Doctrine affects no one but Catholics is willfully disingenuous.

                • hamiltonr

                  Please just talk about the issues. There is no reason to make comments about one another.

                • FW Ken

                  You brought up the public square, and I responded.appropriately. I’m not sure why your wife choosing to lie should change the structure if the universe. Why not go be an Episcopalian? Lovely people.

                  • pagansister

                    Yes, they are.

                    • FW Ken

                      They have better music, too.

                    • pagansister

                      Smiling :-) Love me some music. Will you be watching the game tonight? Hope the Cards can pull off a win—but—

                    • FW Ken

                      Heard tonight that Lackey, pitching for Boston, lives in Fort Worth and I thought about changing my allegiance. Then I found out that he divorced his wife while she was being treated for breast cancer.

                      GO CARDS! Yes, I know it’s a sinking ship. :-(

                    • pagansister

                      Yes, the ship sank DEEP! :-( What is the expression? Wait until next year? :-)

      • pagansister

        Having a bad day? I guess just don’t get a divorce and then get married again without getting an annulment? I taught with a divorced teacher, who didn’t get an annulment. She said she had no intentions of ever marrying again. She has been divorced a long time. Guest explained it in plain English–and simply. Does one receive the benefits of the Church completely without receiving Communion, since that is very important to the faithful? And yes, it is true, I’m not Catholic,(no news there) but spent 10 years teaching with Catholic teachers (as you know) and attending Mass and teaching at Kindergarten level Catholic prayers etc. That was an education in itself but in no way a life time of following and learning the tenants of the faith, and I don’t pretend to have any answers (does anyone?)—thus the questions. I comment and give my opinion here due to the tolerance of Rebecca. She has the option of not posting my comments. Have a good evening, FW Ken.

        • FW Ken

          My mood is not the point: you always lead with abuse, which is seldom the case, and when it is, civil divorce is an option. That ground had been plowed several times, but I have to note that getting out of the house isn’t necessarily a panacea. Obsessed spouses will escalate sometimes. The answer to that is a peace bond and if that doesn’t work, a safe house. None if that has squat to do with annulments.

          Since you have that experience in a Catholic school, perhaps you know the answers to your questions, which raises the question of why you keep coming back to it. The answers to these questions are a discrete and finite set. It’s not rocket science and the answers won’t change.

          times

          that getting out of the house is not always a panacea.

          • pagansister

            Yes, I do mention abuse—because even if it is not physical, mental is just as bad. You claim abuse is rare. I’ll take your word for it. You mentioned that a civil divorce is an option. However a woman (or man) is required to get an annulment if they wish to get remarried in the Church, right? How long does it take to do that? Is there a guarantee the powers that be will not find abuse an excuse to be divorced? I know you do not know the answer to all those questions. However, it seems like more punishment if an annulment is not granted after a civil divorce, as if the person hasn’t suffered enough in an abusive marriage, they are denied the change to remarry in the Church should they find a loving person they wish to marry. If they remarry either civil or in another religious building, they are denied communion, a sacrament that is important. How is that not similar to punishment? 2000 years of rules can be hard to change. Of course they have the choice to leave and find a Church that recognizes their civil divorce and allows remarriage in their church. In that case the Church loses out on a person they might have kept to another religion or perhaps that person is so wounded they just leave any faith. Everyone loses. BTW, I do know that sometimes things get worse after a person attempts to leave. Not news to me. Good Night.

            • FW Ken

              That a valid marriage cannot be dissolved its not a rule, it’s a doctrine. It reflects our view of how reality. You have a different view. As I’ve said to others, you are not a Catholic. It’s not your business.

              • pagansister

                When it affects someone I know, yes, it is my business.

              • pagansister

                Why isn’t it my business? Not being Catholic really isn’t a good excuse IMO. There are many Catholics in my life, and understanding is important.

                • FW Ken

                  If you don’t understand by now, I doubt you will. It’s simply not complicated. The conditions for a sacramental marriage are straightforward. That a sacramental marriage can’t be undone is clearcut. What else is there?

                  You own opinions about divorce are your opinions. You aren’t Catholic, so they don’t impinge on anything Catholic.

                  So I’ll end where I starred: give it a rest.

                  • pagansister

                    I understand more than you think. Yes, they are my opinions, which I have a right to. There are only a few things that can’t be undone in this world. Game 6 tomorrow! Will the Cardinals make a come back to toss the series into the 7th game? We will see. Good Afternoon. :-)

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      Pay attention. The expression throughout is “divorced-remarried”.

      • pagansister

        And?

    • guest

      As others have said, the church doesn’t recognize civil divorces of sacramental marriages. The church doesn’t expect a woman to stay in an abusive marriage – she can legally separate from her husband or obtain a civil divorce and still be able to receive communion. The issue arises if she remarries without an annulment. Then she would not be able to receive communion, but she would remain a member of the Catholic church.

      • pagansister

        Thank you, guest. Your explanation is appreciated.

  • Rick Connor

    A divorced person can receive the Eucharist. A divorced person who remarries without an annulment cannot receive it. Physical abuse, in itself, is not a reason for an annulment. An annulment states that there was never a valid sacramental marriage in the first place. Entering a marriage with no intention of keep vows, gross emotional immaturity, keeping a significant secret from a spouse and a number of other things can invalidate a marriage.

    • Illinidiva

      Why shouldn’t physical abuse be a reason for an annulment? I highly doubt that God would consider a marriage which involves physical violence sacramentally valid. This is where the Church fails to show mercy and deems the “rules” are more important. In fact, it is striking to me is just wrong that a nominal Catholic who got married at a resort and just wants to get remarried in the Church because his/ her fiancée is religious can easily obtain an annulment, but a woman whose husband broke her ribs cannot.

      • FW Ken

        Perhaps you don’t know what annulment is, which is the declaration that the sacrament of matrimony never happened. If subsequent to the sacrament, factors (such as abuse) appear that make a separation or civil divorce useful, that’s one thing. To say that those factors invalidate the sacrament is another thing.

        The rest of your comment is your opinions, which I’m sure are important to you.

        • Illinidiva

          As I stated, do you think God is that callous that He would consider a marriage in which one of the partners physically or emotionally hurts his partner as sacramently valid. Think that the spouse (mainly the husband) understands the idea of the sacrament in that situation.

          Yet, as you mentioned, the Church doesn’t guarantee an annulment in such situations. So let’s suppose that this involves a woman in her 20s or 30s who finally escapes an abusive relationship is required by the Church to be a spinster for the rest of her life.

          The annulment rules are screwed up. My parents could probably get an annulment because they used birth control. However, they have a healthy marriage (almost 40 years). Yet a woman getting slapped around has to stay in her marriage because of black and white rules.

          • FW Ken

            As I said, I’m sure your opinions are important to you. It would held, off course, if you stated then coherently and demonstrated some knowledge of what you are talking about.

          • FW Ken

            To be clear, as had been stated several times, a woman (or man) need not stay in an abusive marriage. Civil divorce is an option. That had nothing to do with a declaration of nullity.

    • Bill S

      Physical abuse, in itself, is not a reason for an annulment. An annulment states that there was never a valid sacramental marriage in the first place.

      That’s ridiculous. When you read about Jesus and the woman at the well, do you get the impression that he was not willing to have her eat and drink in memory of him? There are many successful marriages between divorcees. Something just isn’t right about the Church’s stand on divorce and remarriage.

      • peggy-o

        Hey Bill,
        He did tell the woman to sin no more which could relate to communion. I wish everyone could read Muller’s full text, The Power of Grace. It’s very merciful and truthful. It clearly states that all divorced and/or remarried persons should be treated with love and concern and pastorally for each unique situation. I hope some of the commenters here will keep that in mind. And I hope it’s not unmerciful for me to say “Go. Cardinals!”

        • pagansister

          Cards are down by 3 right now, bottom of the 6th! Hope they can make it up soon. Go Cardinals! :-)

          • FW Ken

            Bottom of the 8th. Cards down by 2. After last night, though, anything can happen.

          • peggy-o

            Bottom of the ninth sending out a hailary for carpenter

          • FW Ken

            Despite 2011, I’m rooting for the Cards out of loyalty to an internet friend, but I got to tell you, part of my heart’s in Boston. Did you hear James Taylor sing America the Beautiful with his family Thursday night at the 7th inning stretch? That song wipes away all my cynicism about the direction of this country. And I’m a pretty cynical guy.

            Normally I don’t follow the World’s Series unless my Rangers are involved, but this is great baseball.

            • peggy-o

              For a Rangers fan to root for the Cards wow–that is loyalty and friendship! James Ttaylor and fam was Awesome! I don’t know the Grammy singer from Saturday but she had some nice pipes. They have been good games.

        • Bill S

          Yes! Red Sox won Game 4. Now it has to come back to Boston. Sorry, Peggy.

          • peggy-o

            Ah h healthy competition between two great catholic cities. If we could only hit better. To use a reference to Saturday’s game, no one wants to be obstructed when coming home to the church and her sacraments, but we have to understand the imps/ bishops speak for Christ, and we need to receive them correctly so they work for our good and not our I’ll. In the meantime we are to accept these folks in our churches while it’s being worked out. Go Cardinals!

            • Bill S

              Peggy. I have developed a strong opinion about certain things that the Catholic Church teaches that people accept as correct for the sole reason that to say these teachings are not correct would be to admit that the Church is human and fallible, which some treat as a heresy. As much as reason and logic would indicate that people can successfully divorce and remarry, marry their same sex partner, use contraceptives, use IVF, take a morning after pill after being raped or making a mistake, etc. the Church insists that they cannot. The evidence is overwhelming that they can and they do. Whoever wins, this already is one of the greatest World Series. Good luck. May the best team win.

              • peggy-o

                Good luck to you too. When last our two teams met in 2004, my children and I were at Disney World for post divorce healing. I wasn’t back in the church yet. The winning team was coming to Walt’s Main street for a parade. I wished for Cards but it was your team. So we hit 3 parks and toured the world at Epcot. Amazing day! I got a better day than I wanted. I think if we can hang on through these tough but best love teachings we’ll see a better miracle by the end of the game.

                • Bill S

                  I feel bad for people who, while they are the most qualified to determine what is in their own best interest, they defer to their church to tell them what they should and shouldn’t do. I trust Jesus for my salvation but I don’t trust any church or religious authority. If there is a God, and if there is judgment involved in what happens to us when we die, I trust the outcome to Jesus. The rest, I don’t worry about. If I wear divorced and met a woman or a man (I doubt that in my case) who I wanted to marry, I would go ahead and do it but continue to trust in Jesus that it would not be the problem that some religions would see it as being.

                  I feel sorry that you are divorced and think that you can’t hook up with another mate. It’s none of my business of course, but I think that if someone believes in God, they should also believe that he cares enough about us to find fulfillment in this life and not to worry so much about the next, if there even is a next.

                  • peggy-o

                    Thanks Bill,
                    Don’t be sorry. I feel very fulfilled with love of God, family and friends. My children are doing great and have both parents present in their lives daily. My choices are free will. I chose Christ after He chose me. I asked him where His church was and where I should have communion- he led me back catholic. The Eucharist is too profound for mento give up or receive unworthily. Christ will judge whether my marriage was sacramental through annulment process. I labored too hard to get to these sacraments to walk away — my choice to follow this truth and raise my kids in it. The Sox will probably win but catholic church is a guaranteed winner.

                    • Bill S

                      Peggy,

                      The only connection I have with real faith is that I just say “Jesus, I trust in you” when I find myself arguing too much about religion which I consider to be an OCD (the arguing, not the religion). Beyond that, and going to mass and church functions with my wife and belonging to the K of C, which I guess is kind of a lot, I have no use for the Catholic Church.

                      I’m glad for you that your divorce doesn’t sound like a very destructive one and you are seeking an annulment. Good for you. The World Series is not won yet. The Cardinals can easily win the last two games. Jesus, I trust in you.

                    • hamiltonr

                      Bill, that is real faith.

                  • FW Ken

                    Bill -

                    Why do you think people have to be married to be fulfilled? I’m single and as happy as the next guy. Some days are better than others. Work’s a bear. When Mama was sick, I guess a wife could have helped, but that is utilitarian, not love. I’m lonely sometimes, but married friends tell me they are lonely sometimes.

                    When I was young and marriage was on the table, people would advise me not look to marriage to solve my problems our make myself whole. That made and makes sense to me.

                    • Bill S

                      I was lonely before I met my wife. I would have never lived my life alone. I still wouldn’t. It’s definitely not for everyone.

                  • savvy

                    How would you know about Jesus, if it was not for the church?

                    • Bill S

                      What is your point?

                    • savvy

                      My point is that what you know about Jesus from the Gospels, is from the church that decided what books should be in the them.

                      If you do not trust the church that put them together, then why would you trust Jesus of Nazareth?

                    • Bill S

                      Many people put their trust in Jesus but not in the Catholic Church. I support the Church and think it does more good than bad. But I see no need to accept everything it teaches without seriously questioning and rejecting those things that make no sense or are actually detrimental to my enjoyment of life.

          • FW Ken

            And just won game 5. See, I thought the city changed on even numbered games, so tomorrow in Boston should have been game 5.

            • Bill S

              No Ken. It’s a 2-3-2 schedule to lessen the travel. I hope Napoli can finally get his ring after the Rangers were so close in 2011. Reminded me of Red Sox-Mets in 86. Please, God, don’t let that happen this year.

              • FW Ken

                I miss shouting NA-PO-LI – NA-PO-LI, so I shout it at the TV anyway, even if I’m technically rooting for St. Louis.

      • Rick Connor

        Marriage involves an oath to God. The only thing that would invalidate the oath is if the person making the oath did not meet the criteria for a valid and binding oath. What matters is whether a person entered freely and with full consent on the day they took the oath.

        Abuse, in itself, is not reason for an annulment. My assumption is though that there is a good chance that the man who is abusive or woman who married him, entered into the oath of marriage without full knowledge of what they were doing. The assumption is that some type of important information was withheld at the time of consent. Abuse, in an of itself, does not met the criteria.

        The couple may be able to get an annulment based on emotional immaturity, or that a lie was told, that someone did not want children, or did not think that marriage is a lifetime commitment, or that there was some type of physical coercion–but abuse by itself is insufficient.

        • Bill S

          Think about what you (and the Church) are saying. Under no circumstances can a battered woman escape her situation and find a caring and loving man who will love her and her children and have more children with her. If she does she is committing adultery and cannot receive the Eucharist. You know what that is? It’s additional abuse of a psychological nature. And the more committed a Catholic she is, the more severe the abuse. It’s also silly and unnecessary.

          • FW Ken

            Except that no one is saying she should stay in an abusive situation. And I have no idea why ones level of commitment would affect the level of abuse.

            • Bill S

              If the woman is really religious, denying her communion is more abusive than if she doesn’t care as much. I would advise married gays and divorcees to find a church that does not look at their marriage as “sinful”. There’s no need for them to put up with such a judgment against them. They haven’t done anything wrong.

              • savvy

                “If the woman is really religious, denying her communion is more abusive than if she doesn’t care as much.”

                No, it’s not. Communion is not a right. It’s a gift that we receive with humility, not covet.

                My mother is divorced, and takes her vows seriously and chose not to re-marry.

                People make sacrifices for what is important to them, even if you do not see the point or disagree.

                • Bill S

                  It is not my place to belittle your mother’s obedience to the Church. We all deserve to find happiness in this life. If that makes her happy, who am I to knock. If it doesn’t, then she has carried an unnecessary burden.

  • Sus_1

    Who is supposed to keep track of this? If we see a divorced and remarried woman receiving communion, should I be standing at the pew with my hand out for the annulment papers?

    Whose responsibility is it to see that everyone taking communion is right with the church?

    • FW Ken

      Well, it isn’t yours or mine, so sit down in the pew and focus on your own sins. If you have a question, ask the priest privately. I suspect he’ll say what I just said.

    • Illinidiva

      There isn’t a Communion police at my parish… Yours?

    • pagansister

      Perhaps the person taking communion?

  • RelapsedCatholic

    I think most of us would like to see a process like RCIA or something similar that divorced or remarried people can go through to take part in Communion. If a person’s husband or wife leaves them or marries someone new is it really justice and compassion to deny them the Eucharist. My aunt had her first husband leave her high and dry for his secretary when she was pregnant. Se found a new and wonderful man and they married and remained that way until her death from lung cancer 28 years later.

    When she was sick, the priest was counseling her and asked ‘Why do you never come up for communion?’ She responded ‘because I am remarried’. He asked, ‘Do you believe that the Eucharist is the body of Jesus?’ She responded ‘Yes Father’. He then said to her ‘then why would you allow anyone to keep you from him?’

    He is the definition of pastoral care. And a lesson the whole church could learn from.

    • savvy

      Her second marriage is not valid in the eyes of the church.

      It is justice because she is not living in harmony with the indissolubility of sacramental marriage.

      She can still be part of the church, but cannot receive communion.

      • Bill S

        She can still be part of the church, but cannot receive communion.

        That is just so “Catholic”.

        • savvy

          What do you mean? I do not receive communion all the time. The church still considers me to be Catholic.

          • Bill S

            So divorced and remarried people are sinners not worthy of receiving communion. It’s ideas like that that turn people off. It’s nothing to me.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    This is one area I think the Church could have liberalized a bit. Now I don’t know what the right formulation would be that would allow for remarried to take the Eucharest without encouraging divorce. That is the conundrum.

    • FW Ken

      It’s a doctrine: sacramental marriages can only be dissolved by death. Now, the administrative process for annulments can be adjusted, but the doctrine won’t change, however many sad tales get told. Pity remains a highly destructive emotion, the very opposite of compassion.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        Thanks Ken.


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